Summary: WE ARE CALLED TO FORGIVE EVERY PERSON WHO OFFENDS US…no matter what their offense against us is.
LETTING GO TO LIVE FREE
I’m so glad that I have finally found a church where everyone is good to everyone all the time and no one ever gets their feelings hurt or does mean things to one another.
The truth is that we face the potential for hurt everywhere we go – even within the church
Ecclesiastes 7:20 “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.”
The difference should be that as Christians we offer forgiveness more often than the rest of the world…
Colossians 3: 13, “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
This morning I want us to look at how we can better deal with our hurts and bitterness and how if we hold on to these hurts…no matter how bad they hurt…they can change for the worse…
your relationships with others and most importantly our relationship with God…the fact is… that with unforgiveness in the way the Holy Spirit cannot fully direct our lives…how do I know that is true…because God is faithful and true and is willing to forgive us of any and every offense…
C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying, “Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.”
But yet…WE ARE CALLED TO FORGIVE EVERY PERSON WHO OFFENDS US…no matter what their offense against us is.
That may seem like an impossibility to you right now. And perhaps you’re right…it IS impossible for YOU to forgive.
But we’re going to talk today about allowing the forgiveness of God to work IN you and THROUGH you.
The Bible has a lot to say about the importance of mercy, grace, and forgiveness toward others:
Hebrews 12:15, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
FORGIVENESS IS A SALVATION ISSUE.
I read that a man named General Oglethorpe once said to John Wesley: “I never forgive and I never forget.” To which Wesley replied: “Then, sir, I hope that you never sin.” For you see, the scriptures seem to state that, if we are unwilling to forgive another person, we are choosing to cut off our own access to GOD’S forgiveness.
15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins
Jesus told a parable that illustrated how hypocritical it is of us to refuse to forgive another person.
Parable of the unmerciful servant in Matt 18…where we find a man standing before his human master owning a debt that he could not pay and the master ordered that he and family be sold to pay the debt…so he fell to his knees and begged for forgiveness…and the master had pity on him…but then it was his turn to offer the same kind of forgiveness…
Matthew 18:28–30, “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ //30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.”
What a Hypocrite!
Yet, that’s just how ridiculous and offensive our unforgiving hearts must seem to God.
So Jesus restates the point that our lack of forgiveness can nullify God’s forgiveness for our sins.
Matthew 18:31–35, “When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
UNWILLINGNESS TO FORGIVE HINDERS US FROM CONNECTING WITH GOD.
25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
What is the result of unforgiveness in your heart…let me give you a few examples…
Your time in communion is expressing something less than genuine.
Your songs of praise are just noise (like clanging symbols).
Your prayers are just powerless chatter.
Your desire to enjoy intimacy with God will most likely be unfulfilled.